01/24/2005 12:00AM

Fuego Maximo needs to chill


ALBANY, Calif. - Wednesday's Golden Gate Fields feature is a $16,000 claimer for older runners going 1 1/16 miles. A pair of six-figure earners and another who has earned $98,844 are among the seven entrants.

, who lost by a nose at this level in his last start when given a quintuple jump off a claim, looks best - if he can behave himself before the starting gate opens.

He was fractious in the post parade and while being loaded for that last start. He broke through the starting gate, then hooked up in a pace battle before sticking his head in front at the eighth pole.

That was his first loss in three starts here. An Argentine-bred, he won his U.S. debut on Feb. 15, 2003, capturing an allowance race, but he has had a series of problems. He didn't win again until dropped in for $5,000 last Dec. 4, when Cris Vienna claimed him from Bill Delia.

With all the speed in the race, Dinan, second in a troubled trip against similar 11 days ago, could prove tough in the stretch.

* Thursday's card is surprisingly strong, with a pair of $50,000 optional claimers, a $25,000 claimer, and a $20,000 claimer.

* Jockey Roberto Gonzalez picked up a big victory in Sunday's final race aboard Taffyville. In Sunday's first race, Gonzalez's mount, Won Ton Toosie, broke down before the half-mile pole. Gonzalez surprisingly avoided injury - he bounced up quickly and even rode in the second race despite a sore leg.

* Although it lost its graded status, Sunday's closing-day stakes, the $100,000 Brown Bess Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew 28 nominees. Frisco Belle, Uraib, Navaja, and Hoh Buzzard are confirmed entrants.